Melissa Hanthorn’s interest in aviation began in grade school when her grandfather took her for her first airplane ride in his plane. Years later, a helicopter glacier tour in Alaska sparked an interest in helicopters and flying in Alaska. In 2013, Melissa’s love of aviation led her to begin pursuing a career as a commercial helicopter pilot. She left a successful career as an executive assistant to become a pilot. Melissa currently holds a rotorcraft commercial license with an instrument rating. She is training for her certified flight instructor and certified flight instructor instrument ratings. Melissa trains at Midwest Helicopter Academy in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. She earned her private pilot’s license in the Robinson R22 helicopter. She is completing her flight training in the Guimbal G2 Cabri helicopter.
Melissa is involved in the aviation community through Women in Aviation, Whirly Girls, and the Ninety-Nines. She is the chapter chairman for the Greater St. Louis Ninety Nines. Last fall, Melissa was able to fly a Guimbal to Girls in Aviation Day in St. Louis to give the girls the chance to sit in a helicopter and learn more about them. Melissa now also works in aviation as an aeronautical analyst at AeroNavData.